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Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Adkins's Hull face reality check against Cardiff

Flying Bluebirds chasing promotion

Cardiff's Omar Bogle (left) celebrates a goal
1 of 1

Sky Bet Championship
Sky Sports Football & Main Event, 5.30pm Saturday

Nigel Adkins started his stint as Hull manager with a hugely encouraging 3-2 victory at home to Brentford but he could be dealt a dose of reality by Sky Bet Championship promotion-chasers Cardiff.

Hull had gone seven games without a win before deservedly beating the Bees last weekend and there was clear evidence of a positive response to Adkins' upbeat style of management.

But the Tigers are only six points clear of the bottom six and may not be ready to cope with the highflying Bluebirds, who are the only team keeping up the pressure on leaders Wolves.

Cardiff possess the only unbeaten home record in the division and have taken maximum points in each of their last three home matches.

Their robust, direct style of play isn't to everyone's taste but it gets results and is keeping them well above some much bigger clubs with better budgets.

In a 37-year-career in management, Cardiff gaffer Neil Warnock has carved out a reputation for getting the best out of players.

Warnock's passion got him into trouble during Monday's 2-2 draw at Reading when he was sent to the stands but the players epitomised the competitive spirit of their manager by scoring two goals in the last ten minutes to salvage a well-deserved draw and extend their unbeaten run to five games.

Cardiff have had plenty of injury problems and have been without Kenneth Zohore, their top scorer last season, for the last two months.

But their performances have remained generally strong because fringe players have shown their worth. 

Lee Tomlin is the latest player to come in from the cold and make an impact. The talented 28-year-old came off the bench to deliver the equaliser in the draw at Reading and is pushing for more regular involvement.

Match-changing options on the bench is something Hull do not seem to have. Despite the initial upsurge under Adkins, they remain in the relegation shake-up and could stay there for some time.

Recommendation
Cardiff
1pt 4-5 Sky Bet

Team news
Cardiff
Sean Morrison picked up a groin injury in the 2-2 draw at Reading and joins Kenneth Zohore, Frederic Gounongbe, Danny Ward and Jazz Richards on the absentee list. Aron Gunnarsson (ankle) may need to undergo surgery, Craig Bryson (Achilles) could return and Anthony Pilkington (back) is a doubt. Lee Camp, Rhys Healey and Kadeem Harris played for the under-23s on Tuesday but lack match fitness.

Hull
Nigel Adkins was non-committal about the availability of David Meyler and Max Clark, who picked up minor injuries last Saturday. Jarrod Bowen (knee and ankle), Michael Hector (hamstring), Markus Henriksen and Kevin Stewart (both knocks) missed out last weekend and Abel Hernandez, Will Keane, Moses Odubajo and Ryan Mason are out long-term.

Key stat
Hull have won just one of their last 28 away league games.


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Hull have won just one of their last 28 away league games
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